In-Person or Live Events? How to Create a Seamless Hybrid Event Experience

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Posted on March 16, 2023

Hybrid events – events running in a physical venue with in-person attendees and simultaneously occurring online – are increasingly popular. They make events far more accessible and can be recorded for posterity (among other benefits).

However, hybrid events aren’t always easy to organize. Timings and tech can be hard to coordinate, causing frustrating delays and a less-than-seamless experience. 

The last thing you want is for people to leave your event feeling like the online elements detracted from the in-person experience or vice versa, especially when hybrid events can bring the best of both worlds when appropriately deployed.

Here, we’ll show you how to produce the perfect, seamless hybrid event experience that will satisfy all attendees perfectly.

  1. Pick the right technology. 

Think hard about what you need to complete this event and which technology can best help you fulfill those needs.

For example, suppose you are showing off new products. In that case, it is worth investing in zoom lenses for your cameras so that your online participants get the same vital, detailed experience of the new products as the in-person audience.

Similarly, think about how you will be organizing tickets. If you are selling tickets online, consider convenient online solutions, such as payment links, to ensure a streamlined service for attendees to purchase tickets. 

From organizing to presenting and even crowd control, make sure that you thoroughly research all your tech options and pick the very best choices for your

  1. Figure out how to involve everyone

A common issue with hybrid events is that online participants feel ‘left out.’ As such, they often get bored and switch off.

In-person audiences can interact directly with speakers, presenters, etc., but the computer screen separates online participants and cannot instantly grab attention in the same way.

So, if you are putting on an event that involves a degree of audience participation, make sure that you build in ways to ensure that everyone who wants to feels seen and heard.

For example, in a questions segment, you might alternate between questions from the in-person audience and the online audience. 

You could also provide in-person participants with a phone app that enables them to interact with online elements of your event. That way, everyone can share quizzes and games and chat about event talking points online.

  1. Practice makes perfect

Running through your event before the big day makes sense, whatever your format, but it’s essential for hybrid events. Hybrid events have more moving parts, meaning more can go wrong!

So, as far as possible, rehearse your event in its entirety. Bring in stand-ins for both your in-person and your online audience, and test that they can participate as they are supposed to. 

Check that all the technology, from cameras and mics to participation platforms and more, is all glitch-free and works as it should.

Familiarise yourself with the venue, including where all the light switches are, where the exits are, where the toilets and refreshment facilities are, etc. Pinpoint potential bottleneck areas (for example, are people likely to crowd outside the toilets during breaks) and devise strategies to combat this. 

Make sure that all your speakers know how to use the event technology, and brief them on how to involve both online and in-person audience members fully.

The more practiced and prepared you are, your event will likely go off without a hitch.

  1. Remember that time zones differ.

This one seems obvious, but you’d be amazed how many event organizers forget different time zones! If you are to host an event with an audience spread across the globe, it’s essential to get to grips with time zones.

It is only sometimes possible to coordinate your event in a way that suits everyone in every time zone. If you host a truly global event, one or two time zones will always miss out. 

In these cases, you will have to work out a time that best suits most of your audience (and which – crucially – works out for your in-person audience, who may have to commute by public transport, etc.).

One way to figure out a suitable time is to determine where your most important audiences are. You should already have a reasonable idea of the people likely to attend your event – now research those people and find out what time zones they are in. 

It would help if you also considered things like work schedules and family commitments. For example, suppose your core audience is middle-aged professionals. In that case, you will get the best attendance if you plan your event around working hours and childcare commitments (i.e., don’t plan your event for during the school run!)

Once you have an idea of your core audience’s time zone and commitments, you can pick a time that’s likely to be most convenient for most people.

The right strategy can give your hybrid event the best of both worlds.

Hybrid events are a fantastic opportunity to reach a broad audience. People who otherwise couldn’t get to your live events – people who live far away, for example, or who have mobility issues that could prevent access – can join in online. You can also use hybrid event technology to enhance the event for online and in-person audiences.

However, without the proper planning, you could end up with a messy mishmash of in-person and online features that don’t work for anyone.

To produce a seamless, flawless, engaging, and memorable hybrid event, it is essential to plan things properly.

Make sure that you pick the right technology. Build in ways for every participant to feel involved if they want to. Practice your event to ensure that everything works. Think about time zones. And generally put the work in at the planning stage. 

Your hard work will pay off in an event that everyone enjoys!

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